Friday, August 1, 2008

Would you like some cheese with your whine?

This week at Life Group we talked about complaining, based on Philippians 2:14-15:

"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless & innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked & twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."

& it was one of those times when I realize what a big fat loser I am. You know those times? They are bittersweet. It is a blessing to have the conviction of the Holy Spirit, to know that you are being refined to look more like Jesus, but at the same time you realize how much "flesh" is still left in you, & you grieve over it, because you don't want to sin!

But recently God revealed something to me - one of those times when He makes a truth very real to you, & all of a sudden it makes perfect sense. I am not to make myself good for God, but instead God is making me good, over time. He does not shake his head at us & "tsk, tsk" when we sin - He says, "it's okay, get back up, we'll try again." (Please note that I speak of true believers, people that know the Lord; He forgives our sin because we are covered by the blood of Jesus. He is a just God & people who do not accept Jesus' sacrifice for us will be judged accordingly [hell].)

All that to say, all of my life I have been a rule-follower. This is not necessarily a bad thing (in my opinion, of course!). But because of my rule-following nature, I have always thought I need to just do the right thing, creating my own righteousness basically, then when I messed up I beat myself up over it. I lacked grace for others & myself. But God is revealing His grace to me. I am finally seeing His love & salvation for us as a perfect mix of grace & the law. When we love the Lord & know Him, we need to & should want to obey Him. & God is showing me how grace fits in perfectly.

It's so good when God reveals truth to you. It might not make sense in any logical kind of way, but God is so much bigger than logic.

Back to complaining. We kept coming back to two things: first, we complain because we think we have rights. We have the right to be treated in the best way by everyone, we have the right to go about our way without disturbance, we have the right for everything to be exactly how we want it. & when those things don't happen, we complain. Yuuccckk. How selfish are we. We, especially as Christians, have no rights! If only we lived life for Jesus instead of ourselves. If only we could stop thinking of ourselves as so important.

Second thing: everything comes back to the condition of your heart. Only you know why you say what you say. You know if you want to tear someone down, or if you have a genuine concern for their situation. You know the intent of your words. (Hopefully you've noticed by now that most of the time, when I say "you, " I mean everyone, the general public, including myself.) If ONLY everything I said were profitable!!

God is working in my heart in this whole complaining thing.

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